Design: The Battle of Good v. Evil — Layouts

February 1, 2012

So, when it comes to graphic design of any kind, no two layouts are ever alike. Everything falls to taste, preference, budget, time constraints and other myriad issues. But sometimes a design is just amazing, or it just sucks and you need to call a spade a spade. Here are some examples of what I think are some great layouts and some terrible ones.

5 Terrible Layouts:

instylebadlayout
Gah, this one is hideous. First of all, it doesn’t play up how pretty Drew Barrymore is. In fact, I actually think it makes her look severe and unattractive. Also, the way they designer cropped her took a chunk off her head and her hair looked like a helmet. And the fact that she is wearing something light and is against a light background makes her torso disappear. Obviously the people working on this particular cover did not take their subject into account at all.

aboutsitebadlayout
I feel a little bad about this one because last semester a speaker from About.com came to my Media Sales class to tell us about how they work. He was so passionate about his work and so proud of the expert information they provide to their audience that I just didn’t have the heart to voice my opinion about their godawful layouts. I’d love to take in the full effect of their information, but with the ads breaking up the article every two sentences, it just make the site look cheap and is distracting from the content itself.

wordpressbadlayout
Yes, even my beloved WordPress is not exempt from being a Bad Layout. I didn’t used to consider this a bad layout until they decided to update everything. I will be able to get used to it eventually, but I feel that in order to create more user-friendliness through the magic of Flash, they lost the concept of simple navigation.

cafepressbadlayout
thaicraftbadlayout
These last two I chose because they just look so generic and not inviting to the average consumer. If you don’t claim a look that is unique to your business, you run the risk of looking like a domain marker that is trying to trick people into buying fake inventory to steal their credit card information. Fool me once, shame on you.

5 Good Layouts:
aboutsitegoodlayout
Just as I dislike the layouts of the articles for About.com, I love love LOVE the layout for the front page. Simple, easy to navigate, and focused on the content.

openculturegoodlayout
Another site that I love is that of Open Culture.
Besides the fact that it’s awesome, the site is very clean and easy to navigate.

crimereportinggoodlayout
This is just a really cool cover (if badly scanned–my fault!). It’s dynamic and bright while still conveying the seriousness of the subject matter.

hammerofwitches
Here’s another really neat book cover. It’s so dark and dangerous looking. I just wish it were for something cooler than a dry translation of legislation that was used against people standing accused of being a witch.

thebeautynerdgoodlayout
One of my favorite blogs to look at, Chronicles of a Beauty Nerd feels like an oasis, cool and comforting. I’m not sure if it’s the content, the design, or both.

I don’t know if I managed to help anyone differentiate between a good or bad layout, or if I just made it more confusing, but this is what I believe can make or break a product/site/etc. You be the judge in whatever you see in daily life.

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